Most Americans are familiar with the adage, “fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.” Unfortunately, even though Americans are aware they were fooled in the 2010 midterm elections, particularly American women, they were fooled again and gave Republicans control of Congress. It is the epitome of Einstein’s famous quote that “insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome.” It is also the epitome of stupid and if nothing else, the results of the 2014 midterms revealed that for the most part Americans are inherently stupid people.
In the lead up to the 2014 midterms, exactly like the 2010 midterms, Republicans pledged that if they won control of Congress, they would focus on jobs and growing the economy. In fact, the day Mitch McConnell was sworn in as Senate Majority Leader, he had the temerity to say that now “Serious adults are in charge here, and we intend to make progress.”
The House Majority Leader, Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), openly stated that “We’re focused on job creation and running a more efficient, effective, accountable government.” That stated focus was a lie, but that is what Republicans are known for and yet Americans elected them anyway.
Both McCarthy and McConnell’s assertions sounded precisely like Republicans in 2011 when they took control of the House, and yet the first items on their agenda besides taking steps to slash Social Security, give the Kochs and John Boehner a pipeline gift, were attacks on women’s reproductive rights.
Not only are Republicans not ‘adults or focused on job creation’ or the least bit concerned about running a more ‘efficient government,’ they are dirty liars. Maybe they adhere to Willard Romney’s Mormon principle that ‘lying for the lord’ is not a violation of the Ninth Commandment, just a necessary evil to impose religion on the people.
Instead of introducing legislation to create jobs, or help Americans struggling in an economy created for the benefit of the rich, on the first day of the 114th Congress Republicans introduced five separate bills restricting women’s reproductive rights; something they did not pledge would be at the top of their legislative agenda. Although, to be fair, Mitch McConnell did in fact promise to use a “more efficient, effective, accountable government” to attack women’s reproductive choices as part of their sworn allegiance to the religious right and hasten America’s theocratic lurch. It is just more Republican hypocrisy of claiming to wage war on government intrusion into Americans’ personal lives, and then using religious legislation to intrude on women’s personal lives.
In the House, Republicans Trent Franks (R-AZ) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) reintroduced an abortion ban after 20 weeks of pregnancy; the same bill the House passed two years ago. The outrageously absurd religious legislation, The Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, is dependent on the personhood and evangelical movement’s disproven half-wit claim that a fetus feels pain at 20 weeks. This is despite all known biological scientific data showing that a fetus’s nervous system is no more developed to feel pain at that gestational period than it can experience the luscious aroma of a gourmet chef’s signature dish.
One thing is indisputable; there is no way in proverbial Hell that banning abortion at 20 weeks is fulfilling the Republican pledge to sharply focus on “job creation and running a more efficient, effective, accountable government.” It is why Americans who voted for lying Republicans should be shamed mercilessly because they were easily fooled twice within a four year span.
Not to be outdone by House theocrats, Republican Senator David Vitter (R-LA), the morally upright Christian notorious for championing moral crusades and frequenting a Washington D.C. prostitution ring, introduced four different bills restricting women’s reproductive rights. Vitter’s first offering bans Planned Parenthood from receiving any federal funding for family planning work like pregnancy counseling, cancer screenings, and advising women on effective means of contraception.
Another one of Vitter’s evangelical bills is the Texas-style requirement that abortion providers have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. The evangelical scheme makes it nearly impossible for women and physicians in rural areas with limited proximity to hospitals to exercise their legal reproductive choice. It is noteworthy that the mortality rate from regularly-ordered colonoscopies that do not require hospital admitting privileges is 40 times higher than for abortions, but patient safety was never the issue; imposing evangelical’s religion on American women is.
Vitter’s other bill allows any doctor, hospital, or nurse to nix any “abortion-related care” regardless the threat to the life of the mother. The other religious bill from Vitter is a farcical ban on non-existent “sex-selective abortions which is a purely fictional boogieman invented by anti-abortion opponents” to portray women’s reproductive choices as driven by sheer vanity.
Now, according to McConnell, passing all these purely religious bills are crucial because “There’s no reason our constituents should be kept from having their voices heard on this (religious) issue in the Senate. I look forward to the Senate passing similar (religious) legislation to the House in the next Congress.” However, not only are these theocratic bills not what the people voted for, they are contrary to what the voting public stressed was most important to them.
For example, in 2014 election polls, the overwhelming majority of voters said the economy is the most crucial issue facing the country; not abortion, not slashing Social Security, and not rigging the CBO to raise taxes on the poor and cut taxes for the rich. In fact, 63% of all voters complained that the economic system unfairly favors the rich. Voters wanted Republicans to join with President Obama and compromise on solutions for more higher-paying jobs and economic growth that benefitted working Americans. Instead, lying Republicans immediately offered up five bills attacking women’s reproductive choices that the majority of Americans oppose.
For example, election polling revealed that 52% of Americans said abortion should be legal in all cases and that included Republican voters. In other polls unrelated to the 2014 midterm elections, surveys reveal that the majority of Americans, 7 in 10, support legal abortion as a woman’s rightful, and legal, personal choice. Republicans could not care less what the majority of Americans support because they are pandering to the religious right who did, as this column warned, showed up en masse to vote to push their notion of a theocratic America down the throats of the people.
Republicans were careful this election cycle to keep their anti-women religious extremism in check and it worked to fool most voters. It is astounding that Americans, particularly women, fell for the ruse and actually believed that this time Republicans were serious that their only focus was creating jobs, strengthening the economy, and attacking income inequality voters complained favors the rich. Instead, Republicans began precisely the same way they did in 2011 and attacked women’s reproductive rights; and they are just getting started.
No American should be surprised when Republicans again introduce the evangelical ‘fetal personhood’ bill(s) again with a view to criminalize legal abortions and all contraceptives. Many of the new Republican senators strongly support an obscene idea that at the moment of conception, the single-celled zygote is a person worthy of citizenship and all Constitutional rights over those of the woman carrying the zygote. It is worth noting, again, that according to the evangelicals’ Christian bible in Genesis 2:7, their almighty god utters the natural fact that until a fetus exits the womb and “breathes air,” it is not a living being. But no-one in their right mind believes evangelicals have read any part of the religious book save the prohibition on gays.
The fact that Americans were easily fooled by Republicans again does not reveal their naïveté, but their rank stupidity. And according to Albert Einstein, a very healthy dose of insanity. Because Americans fell for the same lies and deception Republicans used in 2010 and are again witnessing a Republican Congress launch a rash of assaults on women’s reproductive rights as one of their first orders of business.
One thing is certain, the religious right voters who showed up at the polls knew Republicans were lying for the lord by pledging to focus on jobs and the economy; all to hasten America’s rush toward theocracy and to control women. Shame on Republicans for fooling the people in 2010, but shame on Americans for getting fooled again by pathological liars claiming to be righteously religious Republicans. It is going to be a very hazardous two years for women, and considering they make up over half the population, shame on them for failing to vote.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.